Review: Lagunitas Sucks Holiday Ale, Lagunitas

Lagunitas Sucks Holiday Ale
Lagunitas Brewing Co. — Petaluma, CA

  • Style:  Winter Warmer
  • Bitterness:  Not specified
  • ABV: 7.6%
  • Malts:  Not specified
  • Hops:  Not specified
  • Sampled:  12 oz. bottle

Description: "This sad holiday season we didn’t have the brewing capacity to make our favorite seasonal brew, the widely feared Brown Shugga’ Ale. So this substitute beer is a ‘Cereal Medley’ of Barley, Rye, Wheat, and Oats…. Full of complexishness from the 4 grains, and weighing in at 7.6% ABV, then joyously dry-hopped for that big aroma and resinous hop flavor." —Lagunitas Brewing Co. 

Random thoughts:  Due to a lack of capacity, Lagunitas was unable to produce Brown Shugga' this year. They've taken it on the chin and demonstrated some humorous self-flagellation. Fear not, Shugga' will be back in 2012.  For the full story, check out Brookston Beer Bulletin' s coverage.  In the meantime, be it known that they suck.

The tasting:  Deep gold in color, slightly hazy, with a white head that dissipates slowly. Wonderful aroma dominated by tropical fruit (pineapple, guava, mandarin orange, and mango) with some sweet malt. The tropical fruits do not make their way into the flavor. Instead, grapefuit and piney notes take over. The hop bitterness is balanced by some caramel sweetness, but this is a hoppy beer. The "cereal medley" flavors don't emerge through the hops and caramel malt.

It's medium bodied, has a creamy mouth feel, and finishes with a lingering grapefruit hop bitterness. While not hot, the alcohol is tame for a nearly 8% ABV brew.

Rating:  4 star.  Really Good!  I want this again!  No style is listed for this beer, but it tastes like a double IPA to me. The aroma of this beer is mouth-watering! If you don't drink beer, buy it, smell it, and give it to a friend. I may not understand the winter seasonal aspect of this beer, but I won't quibble. After all, there's no sense in criticizing one who's already acknowledged their suckage. If this "substitute" beer is the result of a brewery mishap, I hope Lagunitas keeps messing up...

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